One of the reason TV commercials are so bothersome to most people is because the vast majority are for products we simply have no interest in. Commercials could be more bearable if they were targeted the things that we liked or at least had a passing affinity for. Gracenote has a new ad replacement system able to personalize TV commercials set to begin trials in 2013. The system will show different people different commercials during the same timeframe.
The Gracenote system will be demonstrated at CES next month. The targeted commercials are expected to fetch higher prices and help enlarge the TV ad market. Gracenote was originally a music company that was purchased by Sony in 2008. The original service offered by the company helped music services such as iTunes and others identify, scan, and match songs to metadata.
The TV ad replacement system uses a smart TV or set top box running the ad replacement technology. That technology would use video fingerprinting similar to the company's music technology to identify what the viewer is watching and when the show was about to show a commercial. This is also integrated with data about gender, age, income, and whether you rent or own your home.
All that data is used to determine what TV commercials would be most appealing to you. Once the tech chooses the best commercial for you, it's delivered via an IP-based delivery engine and a version of the Opera browser overlays the new ad over the default commercial aired on TV. The browser then automatically closes when the commercial finishes and returns you to the show you are watching. I can't imagine advertisers running nationwide campaigns on popular shows appreciating a company co-opting their ad space like this.